Kirkwood, CA 3/27/2017

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Kirkwood, CA 3/27/2017

Postby tseeb » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:20 am

I had a very fun, although short ski day. It was especially good considering Kirkwood only reported 2" new. After closing cabin and passing a few people under chain control on the way there, I loaded Cornice at 9:25 and skied Sentinel. The usually good trees on skiers right were untracked, but hard surface underneath was felt on every turn. By going through trees, I found chute to skiers right (Lower Fireball?) was a little better. I tried a run on Olympic where totally untracked chute to the right was OK, but still not deep enough, so I returned to run before it steepened. I tried a run to skiers right of the chair, taking a big entrance off cornice, then going right above the Fingers, before cutting back towards Lower Monte Wolf and some of it skied better.

Then I found what was good, the Palisades, and skied that area 5 times although once I did not go far enough out the traverse to require both Timber Creek and Cornice lifts to repeat it as I spotted untracked while still close to Sentinel. The first time going towards Palisades, I found highest traverse was not necessary as it went to a No Hiking Above This Sign. I first dropped in early and found N-side of ridges were skiing better than tops or S-side (duh!). For the first hour+ the visibility at the top would come and go and hard layer was mostly found, while low angle meadow skipping at the bottom was good from the beginning. As sun came out more and it warmed up it almost all of it became good. I even found some some great untracked in gullies off intermediate connection between the two chairs.
Pictures above and below were taken 31 minutes apart
I could have used help trying to track it out
Both of these tracks are mine and were made about an hour apart
With about an hour left in my ski day, I moved to slow N-facing lifts where I took picture from lift of skier finding room to make his turns in untracked.
I rode the Reut chair and skied Waterfall which was recommended to me as a way to check how conditions may be in chute next to it that my friend calls Pencil Chute although I've also heard it called Waterfall Chute. (On my 2016 pdf, the area is called Dick's Drop.) I'd never done the chute which is most years getsvnarrower than the 186s I was skiing. I did not take tempting highest entrance into a STH chute on Waterfall Face, but crossed well-covered rock band to drop into it and found great snow including the lower angle untracked in trees getting to The Drain.

After cleanly skiing a big entrance off The Wall that had great packed powder and finding a lot of untracked areas to make my turns on the way to it, I skied Pencil chute nearly cleanly. On next ride up The Wall, I had celebratory beer
I had been carrying and wondered if I could do it better. I thought about doing Notch Chute from the top instead, but saw a few people heading that way and did not want to get delayed by them on the down-climb. Instead I repeated the Pencil, coming in from steeper right side after taking a couple of pictures.
I did it a little better than first time, but it was hard to do it perfectly clean as there had been enough traffic through chute to make some small bumps that were not easy to follow or oppose while keeping up speed and rhythm. My path on the STH chute in Red, first lap in Pencil Chute in Orange and second lap in Yellow
I finished my day with a lap on Cornice where I skied very steep area between Olympic and Janek and found very good snow, some nearly untracked. Another lap would have gotten me over 20K, but I quit with 18.8K at 12:40 and was on my way home very shortly. I was concerned that another 10 minute lap would cost me 20 or 30 minutes in traffic on way home. While only a short stop for bigger than expected line to get a couple of 'California street-fair famous' Smoked Dakota Brats at Lockefood Meats, I got to gas station in my neighborhood in 3 hrs 20 minutes from Kirkwood and beat my wife home by about a minute. After spending a little over 30 minutes at home where I hosed some of the grit off my SUV, we were on the road to Marina, CA (actually wen to former Fort Ord Army base, that is almost to Monterey). We got to coast early enough to make a quick stop at beach where strong winds were blowing sand into parking lot and most visitors were sitting in their vehicles. We got to see my son's roller hockey team win the final that his OT goal the previous week got them into, then had a very good seafood dinner at Phil's Famous Fish Market where a bluegrass band with most player over 60 were playing. My wife and I were both very tired (as you probably are if you have read this far) when we got back to San Jose at almost 10.
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Re: Kirkwood, CA 3/27/2017

Postby tseeb » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:45 am

I meant to include these pictures of the windmills on Altamont Pass taken while driving at about 3:15

and one taken of me by my wife at the beach on windy part of Monterey Bay just before 6 PM.
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Location: Northern California

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